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As reported in the Daily Press:

Coalition promotes healthy lifestyles

MANISTIQUE – The city of Manistique has received a long to-do list from Dan Burden to make the community more walkable. Burden is a nationally recognized authority on bicycle and pedestrian programs who conducted a walkability audit last October. In a recently released draft report, Burden addresses areas of concern and provides suggestions for correcting problems that have befallen many Upper Peninsula cities.

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Expert wants ‘walkable’ U.P. cities

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Strategic Alliance for Health (SAH) Coalition is looking to break the tradition of short-term health initiatives and programs. The coalition, which is a creation of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, has been busily preparing and planning for a permanent, community-wide makeover that includes two key improvements.

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, in conjunction with a Complete Streets initiative and the creation of a farmer’s market, have become the central focus in a long list of initiatives being tackled by the coalition. According to Kerry Ott, community coordinator for Manistique, the goal of SAH is to encourage healthy lifestyles in order to prevent things like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

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Yesterday, Traverse City officials met with MDOT Executive Director Kirk Steudle in Lansing to discuss the possibility of still incoporating Complete Streets within the upcoming 8th Street road project. Mayor Bzdok, City Manager Bifoss, Senator Allen and Representative Schmidt were also present at this meeting.  There are not many details to report yet, but based on comments by MDOT’s North Region Manager Rise Rasch to the Traverse City Transportation Elements Committee last night, options for an improved 8th Street between Barlow and Garfield are still on the table for 2010.  Exciting news!

Read more on the My Wheels Are Turning blog.

Oakland County residents, please take note. This petition was posted on LMB’s Facebook page this morning.  Yet another great example of effective grassroots organizing and the need for comprehensive Complete Streets policies in Michigan.

Keep Our Kids Safe – Support Square Lake Road Bike Path

Sign petition here:
This is a dangerous stretch of road that has no bike path or sidewalk, near the I-75 ramps.

Target: Oakland County Planning & Economic Development Services
Background: The Bloomfield Hills Surf Club was established in 1962 as a private community swim club serving dozens of surrounding communities. In 1966, the I-75 business loop cut through these communities leaving the Surf Club isolated from those communities.

With the population growth in the area over the past 40 years, it is impossible for children to get to and from the Surf Club and the surrounding neighborhoods safely without the use of a motor vehicle. Surrounding the area are numerous bike and pedestrian paths, but none that allow for the safe passage across the 6 lane, I-75 feeder section of Square Lake Road. In addition, the surrounding communities have no access to newer paths connecting to the larger Clinton River Trail and Oakland County trail system.

Without pedestrian access to this area, the community immediately surrounding the Surf Club has no safe access to the Oakland County trail system, and The Surf Club is inaccessible to families that would like to safely visit without the use of a motor vehicle.

Sign the Square Lake Woodward to Opdyke extension Petition –
Online petition – Keep Our Kids Safe – Support Square Lake Road Bike Path

Funding to be awarded to five health departments in 2010 and an additional five in 2011

This Complete Streets Policy Request for Applications is issued by the Cardiovascular Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity Section (CVHNPA) in the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Control at the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). The purpose of this grant opportunity is to fund local health departments and one of their communities that are ready to work on passing a local Complete Streets ordinance. This is to support Michigan in having safer and connected communities in Michigan, increase assess to daily physical activity for transportation and recreation, and increase the physical activity levels in Michigan to reduce chronic disease and obesity in communities.

The CVHNPA Section will provide funding for up to five local health departments to work with a community within their jurisdiction that are interested in implementing a complete streets ordinance in a city, township, or village. Funding will be provided to five health departments in 2010 and an additional five in 2011.

The funding for this project is from a grant awarded to the CVHNPA Section at the Michigan Department of Community Health from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention American Recovery & Reinvest Act (ARRA) funding.

Download complete grant details

Download grant application

The Michigan Department of Community Health and Michigan Public Health Institute are seeking a Complete Streets Project Coordinator to implement a U.S.Department of Health and Human Services ARRA Complete Streets grant, Communities Putting Prevention to Work.  This position will provide lead consultation, contract and grant management, evaluation, technical assistance to local communities, and facilitate partnerships for the implementation of Michigan Complete streets policies at the local and state level. This person will be responsible for day-to-day management of the grant, including working closely with the Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan Complete Streets team, state partners, funded communities and department staff to implement complete streets policies.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for day-to-day management of the grant requirements, including:
  • Work closely with funded local health departments and their community partners on implementing complete streets policies and related initiatives;
  • Provide grant and contract management for local and state level funded grants;
  • Complete ARRA grant reports and requirements;
  • Attend ARRA grant meetings and trainings;
  • Assist with coordinating and conducting complete streets trainings throughout Michigan;
  • Collect and oversee evaluation components and assist with evaluation reports;
  • Assist with passing state level complete streets policies;
  • Facilitate and collaborate with professional organizations to support local and state level complete streets policies;
  • Develop project tools and resources as needed;
  • Provide leadership and technical assistance to the Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan Complete Streets Action Team to implement complete streets policies.
  • Contribute to Cardiovascular Health Section and project written reports.
  • Respond to requests for information from participating agencies, partners, communities and schools, general public, and other staff.
  • Maintain a current level of professional education and liaison with appropriate professional organizations.
  • Maintain a positive, strong, credible, professional and interpersonal relationship with all parties relevant to the project, and represent the best interests of MDCH/MPHI and the project at all times.
  • Complete other tasks as assigned. 

Click here to learn more and to download job qualifications/requirements

To apply for this position, please follow the detailed instructions on the MPHI website.

We just learned of this situation in Kalamazoo from our friends at the Citizens for A Safer Community in Allegan.  We apologize that the news is now a bit dated.  Regardless, it’s an excellent example of how effective grassroots organizing pays off.  The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition would like to recognize the impressive work by the Fletcher Street Light Committee to insure this intersection remains safe for ALL users.

In November, 2009, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reversed a decision it made in April, to remove a light at West Main Street and Fletcher Avenue in Kalamazoo Township, after neighborhood residents sought to keep the signal, citing safety concerns. The neighborhood has a “unique” situation in that four or five blind people use the light to cross West Main Street, a key factor in the decision to keep the light.  Residents circulated petitions, collecting about 500 signatures in support of retaining the signal after hearing about MDOT’s initial plans to remove it.

Mia Silver, MDOT’s American with Disabilities Act compliance coordinator,  said after speaking with Paul Ecklund, an advocate for the Disabled Network of Southwest Michigan at a public meeting on the issue, “it came to her attention that there may be some safety concerns that had not been considered by MDOT before making the decision to remove the light.”

Representative Robert Jones (D-Kalamazoo), was quoted in the Kalamazoo News, stating “that MDOT did not get public input before taking the light down and said while a good flow in traffic may be desirable for MDOT, pedestrians need a break in traffic.”  The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition believes this case to be yet another example of why the state of Michigan needs a comprehensive Complete Streets policy that insures ALL users are routinely accommodated in all phases of road projects.

Read more about this Complete Streets victory:

Earlier this month, our friends at the Michigan Municipal League hosted a walkability workshop with nationally renowned expert Dan Burden.  In addition to the full day workshop, Dan Burden facilitated walking audits in several Michigan communities.  Below are links to the workshop materials and media coverage the various events received.

Dan Burden’s Workshop Materials:

Part 1: Health and Sustainability

Part 2: Placemaking

Part 3: Transportation Tools

Recent Stories, Photos and Posts About Walkability Audits with Dan Burden:

Also, please don’t forget about MML’s upcoming workshop on Complete Streets during their Capital Conference on April 13-14.

“You Complete My Streets” Workshop at Capital Conference
Attend this session to learn about Michigan’s Complete Streets initiative, project planning that incorporates all forms of transportation. As you’ll hear from experts and local officials who have already adopted this approach, it IS possible to build new roads around motorists, bicyclists, transit systems, walkers, etc. without breaking the bank. Register by March 15 for the early bird rate.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced $1.5 billion in TIGER Grant funding for over 50 high-priority, innovative transportation projects across the country.  The projects, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will create thousands of jobs all over the country and help get the economy back on track.

M-1/Woodward Avenue Light Rail Project

$25,000,000 was awarded to construct a light rail system connecting Downtown Detroit to the New Center district along the region’s main artery on Woodward Avenue. The project is 3.4 miles long with 12 station stops. The light rail system will run on both sides of the street in the second lane from the curb and will be co-mingled with vehicular traffic. TIGER funds will be used for road rehabilitation, a streetscape enhancement project, and the purchase of light rail cars.

Black River Bridge Replacement

$30,000,000 in TIGER funds will be used to construct a new Black River Bridge to replace the existing structure built in 1963. The bridge replacement is part of the integrated $583 million Blue Water Bridge Plaza Expansion Project. The Blue Water Bridge connects Port Huron, Michigan with Canada. The overall project will expand the existing international border crossing plaza, improve the approaching I-94/I-69 corridors including some interchanges, relocate a city street, relocate an electrical substation and replace the International Welcome Center. The TIGER-funded portion of the project replaces the existing aging bridge over the Black River with a modern facility separating international and local traffic.

One of the highlights of the Black River Bridge project is the inclusion of a 14-foot wide bike/pedestrian crossing.

Learn more about the TIGER Grants on the USDOT website.
A complete list of recipients can be viewed Here.

Below is an update from our friends at TART Trails on the ongoing 8th Street Complete Streets efforts currently happening in Traverse City.  Kudos to the local advocates for turning out so many supporters for public comment!  The 8th Street situation is an excellent working example of why Michigan needs a comprehensive Complete Streets policy.  Such a policy would have automatically included ALL roadway users within the initial design of this project.

Over 100 residents gathered at the City Commission meeting on 2/8/10 to voice their opinion on the current 8th Street redesign plans. TART is optimistic that we still have time to work together with the City and MDOT to redesign the 8th Street corridor with a Complete Streets design and not risk losing the Federal Stimulus funding. We’re hoping there is room to encourage flexibility for making a design change that would accommodate bike lanes on the 8th Street project.

Mayor Bzdok and Manager Bifoss will be meeting with MDOT Director Steudle, Senator Allen and Representative Schmidt on February 25 in Lansing to discuss the 8th Street project. Please contact our elected officials before next Thursday and let them know your opinion on the 8th Street project.

Please kindly ask Michigan Representative Wayne Schmidt, Michigan Senator Jason Allen and US Senator Carl Levin if there is anything we can do at this stage to move the 8th Street project forward so it fits in with the City Master Plan and the Grand Vision without losing the Federal dollars.

Thank you for your support on this issue. Together, we are working to make our region a more pedestrian and bike-friendly community.

Missy Luyk – TART Trails, Inc.

More information about this effort may be found on TART’s website .

Recent media on this issue:

The Community Policy Action Team of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan Coalition needs your help to support the adoption of a Complete Streets Resolution. The resolution encourages communities and road agencies to consider infrastructure as active infrastructure as a way to create more walkable, bikeable places where children and families can be physically active.

We are asking organizations and their individual members and/or associates to answer the call. Organization leaders are asked to forward the materials below to their members and/or associates inviting them to take action. Show support for this effort by sending your legislators a letter urging them to adopt Michigan House Concurrent Resolution 34.

For your convenience, a sample letter is below.  It can also be downloaded here as a Word Document.  Links to the  resolution and a Complete Streets fact sheet are also below for your information. Please use your discretion whether you want to include a copy of the resolution and/or fact sheet when sending the letter of support. Letters can be sent electronically or mailed to representatives and senators at the following addresses: Read the rest of this entry »

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